Despite a massive blue wave in reaction to the 2016 presidential election, the truth is that taking over the Senate majority in 2018 was always a bit of a pipe dream. To win the senate, Democrats had to not only flip at least one seat from the Republicans, they also needed to defend every single one of their seats, too, many of them in red states across the country.
Obviously that didn’t happen. The 2018 landscape was one of the most brutal maps that the Democrats could face, and the fact that they lost only two seats overall is really a bit of a miracle. Now, if they want to try to wrestle control from the GOP in 2020, they need to make up a three or four seat deficit (depending on who takes the White House and holds the tie-breaking Senate vote) in the next election. Will that be any easier than in 2018?
Unfortunately, a cursory glance says no, not really. According to FiveThirtyEight, the odds for a Democratic takeover are still a long-shot, even though this map isn’t quite as actively brutal as the 2018 one was. “There will be at least 34 seats up for election in 2020, 22 of which are currently held by Republicans and 12 of which are currently held by Democrats — a stark contrast to the 2018 cycle, when Democrats were on the hot seat,” they write. “That said, to make the kind of gains they need, Democrats will have to overcome the partisan lean of some fairly red states, plus successfully defend two seats of their own in Republican territory.”
On the bright side, there is really only one extremely likely turnover for Democrats — the Alabama seat held by Democrat Doug Jones. Alabama remains Trump country, and while Jones has the incumbent’s advantage, he’s only been in office for a partial term. It’s unclear if Jones would have still nabbed the dark red seat if he hadn’t been up against Roy Moore — a man accused of taking advantage of teen girls in his late 20s and 30s — but you can be certain Jones will face a much harder challenger on the…